Picture: Priyanka Singh/Unsplash
Picture: Priyanka Singh/Unsplash

In a world dominated by human needs and desires, having insight into how people think can be the ultimate recipe for brand success. Will neuromarketing be the tool that is able to provide a customer experience that is second to none?

In a nutshell, neuromarketing is about understanding the psychological drivers and triggers that make people respond in a certain way. This understanding allows marketers to design products and services and to position them in a manner that makes them appealing to consumers. There is unlikely to ever be a one-size-fits-all approach to successfully grabbing consumer attention, but neuromarketing is about providing insights into the marketing stimuli that consumers are most responsive to.

While it may sound a bit like science fiction, neuromarketing as a concept is in fact not new. Many organisations and brands, including PayPal, Frito Lay, McDonald’s and even tequila producer Patrón, are using neuromarketing to draft effective brand strategy and guide product development.

At the most recent Future of Media online event a panel of experts, moderated by Siya Sangweni, discussed how neuromarketing bridges the gap between cognitive psychology and behavioural economics. In addition to exploring the subconscious and explaining how neuromarketing can – and should – be incorporated into marketing strategies, the panel provided insight into better understanding how the human brain processes decision-making and measures emotion, and what kind of information grabs attention.

Thom Noble, CloudArmy president and chief strategy officer, said growing insight into how the brain works and processes information is helping marketers to better understand the role of emotion in decision making. The Iceberg Theory, he explained, focuses on the fact that there is a great deal from a behavioural science perspective that is going on below the surface that we don’t yet understand. This explains why we don’t always make rational and logical decisions. Essentially, the Iceberg Theory maintains that we all have two different ways of thinking: above-the-water thinking, which takes time and effort, and below-the-water thinking, which is intuitive, automatic, effortless and very fast. To better predict how people will behave it’s important to understand both these systems and how they interact. Until recently, however, it has been hard to measure the latter.

Jackie Dhaeyere, a market research consultant specialising in implicit and other non-traditional techniques, said the single biggest success factor when it comes to understanding why some adverts or campaigns are more successful than others is emotion. Adverts that elicit an emotional response – even a very subtle emotional response – connect better with consumers.

Neural Sense co-founder Mark Drummond said many brands miss a trick because they don’t understand how the consumer feels at every touchpoint. Brands need to realise the power of owning an emotional experience at each one of these. However, a brand will be memorable only if it is personally relevant. Repetition and consistency are key, he added.

Brand loyalty requires consistent and authentic connections between the consumer and the brand, agreed Neural Sense co-founder David Rosenstein. At the same time, the brand’s attributes need to resonate with the consumer. 

The panellists encouraged brands and marketers to investigate the field of neuromarketing, particularly given the potential competitive advantages it can provide for brands.

To watch the full discussion, click here. 

Thanks to our digital conference series partners – Voda Media, Primedia Outdoor, The MediaShop, Tilt, The FM Redzone and The Media Online – the Future of Media series has been able to provide relevant insights to the industry.

The next online event, “How influential is media in defining Africa’s story?”, will be taking place on July 13 2021 at 4pm. For more information, or to register, click here.

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